Post Hurricane Maria, now is a great time to visit Puerto Rico, experiencing firsthand the remarkable effort put into rebuilding and restoring its beauty. It is a territory of the United States so you do not need a passport (if visiting from the US) and they use the US dollar – a great choice for a hassle free getaway.
To put it simply – Puerto Rico is enchanting. We stayed for one week and fell under the spell of this abundant island. There is an easiness that comes with being here – it is lush, colorful, and vibrant, not to mention the multitude of outdoor and cultural activities. And with its abundance of museums, bars, restaurants, and shops, there’s plenty to keep you busy, even if you just want to take it des-pa-ci-to (ha-ha, we had to).
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Puerto Rico or our trip please shoot us an email!
We stayed in an Airbnb in Luquillo, a beautiful beachfront spot on the Northeast coast. It was about forty minutes from the airport in San Juan, five minutes from El Yunque National Forest, and fifty minutes from Old San Juan. Our one bedroom Airbnb was in Playa Azul – a guarded condo complex with a view of the water. It was perfect for our family and we couldn’t beat the location.
Old San Juan – Don’t miss the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico, and if driving be sure to arrive early for a good parking spot. We did a little research on what to see, but it did not prepare us for how much we would fall for Old San Juan. San Juan’s former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, are the prime tourist attractions in the old city. These historical forts are definitely worth a visit, but the clear highlight was wandering the cobblestone streets and taking in the colorful buildings.
El Yunque National Forest – This 28,000 acre rain forest gets more than 100 billion gallons of rainfall each year (WOW!), creating a very lush forest. We arrived at 9am and was told by the park ranger we came at the best time because around 11-12 it gets very crowded (and parking spots are VERY limited). Some trails are still closed because of Maria, but we still had plenty of trails to explore. Mt Britton Tower trail is still open and takes about 45 minutes to hike. Juan Diego Creek trail has a waterfall into a natural pool you can swim in (bring your water shoes, the rocks are unforgiving). La Coca Falls is a very large waterfall with a great viewing area and a challenging trail.
Museo del Nino de Carolina – We came here off a recommendation on Instagram and it did not disappoint. If you are looking for a fun activity for the little ones, this hands on museum had a full size airplane outside, go-karts, a bed of nails, and several hands on activities that your kiddos are sure to enjoy! I recommend calling ahead for their hours – it seems to vary quite a bit and did not open until 3pm the day we visited.
The Mall of San Juan – This 650,000 square foot upscale mall is a great place to kill time (we had to wait for the children’s museum to open). Our girls enjoyed the fancy stores and we got some delicious ice cream.
Puerto del Ray Marina – Our time in Puerto Rico coincided with some family visiting as well. They were sailing on a catamaran and we were able to visit them in Fajardo. This marina has 1,000 wet slips and was quite beautiful to see all the boats.
Balneario Luquillo – This is a beautiful lagoon with calm waters, perfect for little ones. The beaches are beautiful, but had strong currents, so this made for a perfect place to splash in the water. It is a bit more crowded and there were a lot of locals. You have to pay for parking, but we would recommend just parking at the Kiosks and walking, it is the same distance.
The Luquillo Kiosks – With over 60 kiosks, this was our go to for lunch/dinner (and was only 1 mile from where we were staying). Our favorites here were:
- Kiosk #20 Terruno – excellent Puerto Rican Food
- Kiosk #34 Revolution Pizza – you can’t beat delicious pizza
- Kiosk #40 Wepa-Arepa – this was our FAVORITE! We don’t have the words to describe how delicious these arepas were – just go! Also use their homemade hot sauce it was fantastic.
- Kiosk #42 Ceviche Hut – delicious Peruvian Ceviche
- MojitoLab – this place is kind of tucked behind the kiosk, but they serve 32 ounce mojitos you do not want to miss!
Stuffed Avocado Shop – Fresh ingredients with huge portions. This food was fantastic and can be found in Old San Juan. Fast service and several bowl options.
El Hamberguito – This local spot in Luquillo is always packed with people, good food, and fun vibes. We were told by a local that we HAD to come here for their mofongo, and it really was delicious, don’t be afraid to add their hot sauce it really brings out the flavor!
El Flamboyan – Delicious sandwiches – come here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! We ate here for breakfast most mornings – yummy sandwiches on soft bread at a low price.
Coquito – This drink is like the Puerto Rican eggnog. Try it – delicious.